The so-called War on Drugs is a concept that was invented by President Nixon in 1971 and put into action. Nixon’s aim was to eradicate drug use from not only the United States, but the rest of the world. Unfortunately, over thirty years later, the war on drugs has done nothing to help it. President Nixon’s vision has ultimately failed.
The War on Drugs has caused a number of problems not only in America, but in other parts of the world. Drugs have been demonized to the point where those who are truly ill –in other words, suffering from addiction- are ashamed to get the help that they need. They feel that they will be in even more trouble if they admit their addiction someone else. Aside from the legal aspects that many people fear, addicts also fear exposing themselves as drug addicts to their friends and families because of societal taboos around substance abuse. This is a stigma that follows almost every addict around and may be preventing them from getting the assistance that they need.
The war on drugs targets only one specific group of intoxicants: illegal drugs. Heroin, Ecstasy, Cocaine and Marijuana have been on the list for years. Yet there are very few people who will say anything against prescription medication. In spite of this, prescription medication is a major killer too. Many people do not consider prescription addiction to be a threat because it comes from a different source. However, drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin are not strictly regulated by the pharmaceutical industry and can be extremely addictive.
While everyone has been focusing on the War on Drugs, a War on Addiction has never been declared. Targeting the supplier is not going to work in cases like this. If people want drugs then they are going to do their best to get them. Individuals who suffer from addiction are the ones who need help and not punishment. This is why more education is essential. Furthermore, the American public is not buying into the war on drugs. A recent article published by the New York Times reveals that 82% of the American public feels that we are not winning the war on drugs. The flip side is that the movement for recovery is on the rise with many people investing their time and money into creating programs of compassion and awareness about recovery and drug addiction.
What are your thoughts on America’s so called “War on Drugs”?